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741 Summer Stories
The Curse

Petrified forest Logs

During our summer visit to the Southwest, we stopped at Petrified Forest National Park in northeast Arizona. We were traveling to the Grand Canyon when we made our unplanned visit.

As we entered the Park, the booth worker informed us that it was illegal to take any artifacts, fossils, pieces of wood, etc from the Park. We listened and swore we would never take anything from the Park, so the worker let us enter.

The northern part of the Park tours the Badlands area with scenic views of the desert terrain, but void of petrified wood. After a few more stops and a few miles more in the vehicle, we finally arrived at the first forest. There we found the petrified forest. It was everywhere. Tons and tons of the fossilized trees. There were big trunks and tiny pieces that had broken from the main bodies. The rocks were very accessible.

Continuing toward the south end of the Park, we stopped at the Rainbow Forest Museum. One of the displays at the museum was the Mystery of the Conscience Wood. The display showed letters of visitors from around the world who had taken rocks from the Park, but then were suddenly stricken with bad luck. The curse was upon them! The letters were a last ditch effort by the curse stricken rock takers to remove their jinx. So they confessed, returned the rock, and prayed for forgiveness. The letters displayed at the Museum were quite humorous and worth reading.

Rock thievery is a real problem in the Park. The Park estimates about a ton of rocks are stolen each month. At each stop along the Park road, signs were posted to remind visitors of the laws against taking anything from the protected area.

And The Curse, is it real? It is probably just guilt, but you would think the Park would like such of a curse, as it would put fear into the hearts of the rock takers. The problem is, the curse strikes after the rocks have been removed from the Park. What the Park really wants is for visitors to stop taking any protected items.

As we were leaving the Park at the south end, we were stopped at the booth and asked if we had taken any pieces of petrified wood. We told the worker that we had read about The Curse, we would buy our rocks from the souvenir stores! We all laughed and we proceeded.

Life is tough enough without a curse following you around. Leave all protected items for the next visitor to discover and avoid potential curses! : - )

Petrified Forest National Park is a small but very unique area. It should definitely be on the list of places to visit!

Happy "the curse was not on us" trails

Our Summer Stop at Petrified Forest National Park


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